One of the world’s leading designers and fashion icon, Tommy Hilfiger started his namesake brand 37 years ago and it became the first brand to do streetwear, inspired from the worlds of fashion, art and music, through early relationships with hip hop artists like Grand Puba, Snoop Dogg, and Aaliyah.
We see how his connection to and involvement in streetwear became an integral part of the Tommy Hilfiger's brand history that still continues today, where Mr. Hilfiger stays very closely connected to contemporary culture, people, diversity and inclusivity, as he has created a brand for all.
Now, Tommy Hilfiger just brought the brand to the metaverse with its first phygital experience, the Tommy Factory Fall 22/23 fashion show, featuring models and avatars walking and floating in an Andy Warhol–style factory scenario. The show has been both physical and digital, merging New York’s Greenpoint with Roblox antigravity landscapes.
We at RED-EYE decided to interview Mr. Hilfiger because of his legendary status in fashion, pop culture and his pioneering endeavours in the metaverse.
Gloria Maria Cappelletti: What made you decide to present such an incredible phygital experience?
Tommy Hilfiger: When we started creating the Tommy Factory Runway Show for NYFW, we wanted to deliver a phygital experience that pushed boundaries in new and exciting ways. We’re the first brand to ever livestream our IRL show directly to Roblox’s 52.2 million+ daily active users – featuring IRL models and digital avatars. Live art was created and shared at the physical event and in the metaverse. Audiences could shop runway styles in real-time with our signature ‘See Now, Buy Now’ experience and attendees could customize a digital Mylar balloon as part of an AR artwork installation – set against the iconic NYC skyline. We’re blurring the lines between the physical and digital worlds, which is super exciting to me.
What is it about Web3 that you like?
We’re always looking for exciting ways to engage with new communities – it means we stay on the pulse of innovation and experiment with technology to bridge the gap between IRL and URL. It’s clear that Web3 significantly impacts how brands can connect with audiences and consumers – from loyalty programs, Web3 as a social platform, gaming and digital products. I love that it can be the “next big thing” for membership and loyalty, giving access to brands in new and immersive ways.
Is the metaverse a new People’s Place?
The metaverse aligns with our brand DNA: innovation, creativity, collaboration, and storytelling – and ultimately inclusivity. It builds on our commitment to fuse entertainment, pop culture and e-commerce in innovative ways while building on our principles of accessibility and Welcoming All. We can’t wait to connect with new audiences and believe it’s an important step towards achieving the brand’s circular goals.
Why do you think that the metaverse experience is important for your brand?
The metaverse is where communities are gathering now and it’s only going to continue to grow. We’re being proactive to understand it and be at the forefront of the fashion industry’s involvement. We’ve been taking opportunities to leverage our brand within this space and create a user experience way beyond a standard shopping journey. It allows us to drive our inclusive spirit, fuse IRL and URL, and connect with new consumers on their own terms – while surprising them with unexpected experiences.
How was your collaboration with Superplastic stars Janky, Gugimon and Dayzee?
Our partnership with Superplastic – and Roblox – highlights our desire to connect with a new community, where they are. All three Superplastic avatar stars that walked our show, bring new elements to entertainment. They each walked the runway in our new Tommy Hilfiger x Richard Quinn styles, which was broadcast at the IRL event and via the livestream feed across all channels. We wanted to bring the Roblox experience to the next level by opening a new NYC-inspired TOMMY PLAY area for the show.
What was it like working with the tech team that supported and managed the phygital event?
Our partnership with Roblox and Superplastic has been inspiring to think big and push boundaries. We have a team dedicated to working in this space, from activations to longer-term strategies while always keeping innovation and the consumer at the heart of the decision-making process. It’s amazing to see what they continue to come up with – it’s truly a new kind of creativity!
What was the atmosphere like backstage?
After a three-year hiatus, the energy was buzzing and we’re so excited to be back. Being in one place with friends, media outlets, other designers, the press – and especially the team – in such innovative ways is a dream come true. It’s exhilarating and electrifying.
What do you see as main trends in the metaverse?
We’re still learning to understand the connection between the physical world of fashion and everything the metaverse has to offer. We do know however that it’s paving the way for the future of retail. We’re meeting our consumers where they are in an organic way. The metaverse won’t replace the physical world, but as we integrate these two worlds, it presents a great deal of opportunity.
A phygital fashion show is a lot of fun and very powerful. What message did you want to share with your community?
Tommy Factory is unlike anything we’ve ever done before – we really stepped outside the box. The show is the ultimate expression of creativity. The phygital experience brought together guests, talent and models, inspired by Andy Warhol’s iconic New York Factory. He was a trailblazer in bringing together fashion, art, music and entertainment under one roof, and we wanted to continue his legacy and build an experience that’s accessible for all.
You have a private art collection featuring works from some of the greatest artists of all time, such as Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Keith Haring. Are you collecting NFTs too?
In March 2022, we took part in Decentraland’s Metaverse Fashion week – it was such a learning experience into how we can integrate our brand world into the metaverse. At the show, we sold out of our firsts NFTs within the first hour released – we see it as an exciting and positive step in the right direction. The future developments are endless and I can’t wait to see what happens!
Why did you choose to create a capsule collection with Richard Quinn? What is it that you admire the most about Richard’s style and what makes him close to yours?
I’ve always been inspired by working with creatives who push boundaries, and Richard is no exception. Tommy Hilfiger X Richard Quinn is a limited-edition gender-inclusive capsule collection that’s unexpected, optimistic and reflects the playful spirit at the heart of both our brands. Bringing together our two distinct aesthetics, the brand draws inspiration from cultural archetypes including punk, explorer, cheerleader and jock. By intermixing Quinn’s signature use of bold patterns and exaggerated silhouettes with our take on American classics, it’s a new take on modern prep.
Why did you decide to livestream the Tommy Hilfiger x Richard Quinn capsule collection in the Roblox community?
We are always working to stay relevant with our consumers and engage in new communities – and this felt like a unique and exciting way to do that. We want to learn, enhance experiences and authentically connect with partners and creators to give our consumers what they want. Roblox provided us with this amazing platform to explore – it’s the first time it’s ever been done and I think our collaboration with Richard Quinn was the perfect fit.
Can you tell us a bit about the Tommy x Roblox Creators collection?
In December 2021, we partnered with eight select user-generated content (UGC) designers from the Roblox community to create/promote a Tommy X Roblox Creators collection. It included 30 digital fashion items, in 2D and 3D, for people to dress their avatars within Roblox. We’re playing and experimenting with the platform and the creators to see what’s possible – so far we’ve had really positive feedback!
We at RED-EYE believe that the future of fashion is equitable, inclusive and circular. How are you exploring circular business models?
We’re always guided by our 2030 goal of being a fully circular brand that Wastes Nothing and Welcomes All. As a global brand with a significant reach, I believe we have a responsibility to do what we can to ensure a more inclusive and more sustainable future of fashion. Read more about Waste Nothing, Welcome All here: https://responsibility.pvh.com/tommy/
What are some of the biggest challenges in the future of fashion?
Now more than ever, consumers are demanding change and want to invest in brands that align with their values. They want to see the brands they love take their sustainability and inclusivity efforts to the next level – I believe the future of fashion depends on it. It’s difficult to say what the future holds, but an industry that Wastes Nothing and Welcomes All is where I believe we need to go.
Check out RED-EYE metazine for an immersive experience of Tommy Factory Fall 22/23. You can join via the Spatial mobile app, Spatial web app on desktop, and in VR with the Meta Quest headsets. Click on Guggimon and enjoy!